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01-05-2015, 01:05 AM   #1
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Ricoh GR for backpacking?

Hi there, my what a nice forum you have here, it would be a shame if something...
Sorry, wrong intro, my bad, slipped into business mode.


I come to you only as a humble peasant seeking wisdom, knowledge and enlightenment.
For a few months now, I've had my GR and I absolutley adore it. I have taken it with me to the streets and a short-ish trip to visit the family in the countryside, and there are a few shots I am pleased with.

Now, please take note, that the GR is my first ever camer. Not my first fixed lens camera, not my first prime-lens camera, no, it's my first ever camera, so it is quite safe to assume that I am a bit of a beginner when it comes to taking pretty pictures.

As for what brings me here: In a few months time, I'll go on a long backpacking trip through south-east asia, and of course I want to be able to take pictures during my holidays there.
Pictures of: The people I travel with
The places I get to
The people I encounter
Etc...
And I can't help but wonder if the GR is up to the task, or if something with a zoom wouldn't be a better idea, such as a Sony RX10 or a K30/50 with an 18-135mm (I already considered an RX100, but if it came down to either my GR or the RX100, I'd go with the GR all day every day, it's just much nicer to use). I want to travel as light as possible but I am willing to carry as much as necessary to be able to take nice picture, though I'd very much prefer not to carry more than one lens with me.

What, oh wise ones, is your take on this, What would you do and what would you recommend?

01-05-2015, 01:54 AM   #2
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Here's a review from an Indonesian photographer which might be helpful. He addresses some of your issues.
Ricoh GR : All the Camera I Need ? Wira Nurmansyah
It convinced me to buy one for myself for Xmas.
01-05-2015, 02:00 AM   #3
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The GR is a fantastic camera. That should be adequate for your trip.

As an example, here is a travel blog I follow. The blog owner compiled a fantastic photo essay of a trip to Japan using only an Olympus m43 camera with a 20mm prime lens.

Photoessay from Japan -- 77 Photos : Legal Nomads

I don't think she ever missed not having a zoom.

Take your GR and master it, and go and take photos. Have a great trip!
01-05-2015, 03:33 AM   #4
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01-05-2015, 04:06 AM   #5
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What the eyes see isn't what the camera sees. I've found that a fixed perspective on my camera helps me envision the latter and thus makes it easier to grab a good shot.

I spent 2 weeks in December hiking in Morocco (sorry, no pictures to show yet ) with my K5 + 43mm lens. I had other lenses with me, mainly because of the same fears you have, but I ended up never using them.

If you like it, and are comfortable using it, your GR will do fine.
01-05-2015, 04:59 AM   #6
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Ricoh Gr is an excellent camera but having a second camera for back up is always good incase something happens(hope not) to your main, or for covering focal lengths that your main cannot reach. K30/50 with 18-135mm is indeed a great combo and quite affordable(weather resist camera and lense on a price less than 700$ is great), WR that its important no worry for rain,dust,cold etc and the camera it self it's easy to use. Although i am a prime lense lover( almost never use zooms) i always believe that a zoom is always necessary for landscapes. Last for me a main Dslr and a compact(or mirrorless) is the perfect combo for trips. And in the future you will have a great dslr to evolve your skills(someday the fix focal length of your Gr will be limited(portraiture,etc).
01-05-2015, 05:22 AM - 1 Like   #7
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You can enjoy your trip and have a great record of it with the GR. Fixed lens rangefinders with moderate wide angles were once the staple travel camera - for their light compact size, easy handling, and high quality images. Enjoy your trip!

Spend money on spare batteries, loads of spare memory, a backup device to transfer photos onto (keeping the memory card as insurance), and maybe some type of charger that works away from power.
01-05-2015, 07:48 AM   #8
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On travels I bring my DSLR and a couple of lenses, but the one that do 90% of the shooting is currently the 21mm. I would be ok with only the Ricoh. You have to challenge yourself to get those people shots and to get variety in composition - I tend to get back with a lot of all-inclusive shots that looks the same.

01-05-2015, 08:33 AM   #9
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If you have just started to experiment with photography, are enjoying it, have a good camera like your GR, and have an important trip coming up, I would recommend that you invest in some photography education rather than a new camera at this point. My husband and I took an introductory course (6, 2-hour lessons) a few years ago before a big trip to Borneo and it was one of the best investments of time and money we ever made in terms of enhancing our travel experience.

You may be able to find a course locally, and I recommend a hands-on course if it's available, since the teacher can help you with your camera's operation if you encounter difficulties.

But if that's not practical, I would recommend the online photography school run by Bryan Peterson at ppsop.com. I've taken half a dozen courses through this school and I like the format. Most of them (except the introductory course, Understanding Exposure, which is 8 weeks long) are 4 weeks long and cost $169. You get a weekly lesson (or series of videos) to watch, a homework assignment to complete and an online discussion forum to interact with the teacher and students. The teacher reviews and gives feedback on your homework and you can see his or her feedback on the other students' work as well, so you learn from what they do as well as what you do.

As I mentioned, there is an 8-week course based on Peterson's book, Understanding Exposure, and it will teach you a lot about how to operate your camera in manual mode. It's designed principally for people with DSLRs, but I think you could still learn a lot that is applicable to your GR, since it has manual mode.

Another possibility is the shorter and less expensive Travel Photography course taught by Alan Thornton. It's $169 and 4 weeks long. I took his advanced course and liked him as a teacher. It's here: Travel Photography

Classes start each month on the first Friday (so they start this Friday), with homework usually due 9 days after the assignment is released.
01-07-2015, 04:29 AM   #10
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
If you have just started to experiment with photography, are enjoying it, have a good camera like your GR, and have an important trip coming up, I would recommend that you invest in some photography education rather than a new camera at this point. My husband and I took an introductory course (6, 2-hour lessons) a few years ago before a big trip to Borneo and it was one of the best investments of time and money we ever made in terms of enhancing our travel experience.

You may be able to find a course locally, and I recommend a hands-on course if it's available, since the teacher can help you with your camera's operation if you encounter difficulties.

But if that's not practical, I would recommend the online photography school run by Bryan Peterson at ppsop.com. I've taken half a dozen courses through this school and I like the format. Most of them (except the introductory course, Understanding Exposure, which is 8 weeks long) are 4 weeks long and cost $169. You get a weekly lesson (or series of videos) to watch, a homework assignment to complete and an online discussion forum to interact with the teacher and students. The teacher reviews and gives feedback on your homework and you can see his or her feedback on the other students' work as well, so you learn from what they do as well as what you do.

As I mentioned, there is an 8-week course based on Peterson's book, Understanding Exposure, and it will teach you a lot about how to operate your camera in manual mode. It's designed principally for people with DSLRs, but I think you could still learn a lot that is applicable to your GR, since it has manual mode.

Another possibility is the shorter and less expensive Travel Photography course taught by Alan Thornton. It's $169 and 4 weeks long. I took his advanced course and liked him as a teacher. It's here: Travel Photography

Classes start each month on the first Friday (so they start this Friday), with homework usually due 9 days after the assignment is released.
I do like your suggestion, but I am gonna look for a course in my general area, since I do believe that a hands-on course will do me a little more good.
01-07-2015, 10:09 AM   #11
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I was almost buying the GR for the same reasons.

I did not. While 90% of my travel photos are in the 28-50mm range, I still need some more zoom occasionally. You will miss it if you don't have it. Especially when travelling where you often shoot fast and cannot plan in advance.

So i use a MX-1, which has the perfect zoom range for me and due to its fast lens, I rarely need to go over ISO 800, even many low light photos are fine with ISO 400 or so.
01-07-2015, 11:47 AM   #12
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My first 35mm was a plastic job I got for selling something in one of those fund raising school things. It was a fixed focus fixed lens - and I doubt I have a single photo from then but it started me down this path. I know I don't have the camera. I was six.

My first GOOD 35mm was given to me by my dad at the age of 8 or 9 I think. It was a Yashica Electro 35 with a fixed lens. I don't recall which of the variant models I had or the exact focal length of the lens - it was likely the 40 or 45mm f/1.7 offered but could have been the 35mm version. In any case I took a ton of pictures with it and enjoyed it despite having only one focal length. Later by age 12 it was replaced with a Nikon Nikkormat FT-3 which had a 50mm f/2 lens. I didn't own other lenses but had access to them from time to time - so the mainstay of my pictures was made with again a single focal length. When I got an F2a at age 15, I mainly shot 50mm and some 85mm shots. The point I'm making is that we often think we need a specific lens to enjoy photography but it just isn't true. The images you make are limited by your imagination and effort much more than your equipment.

Now excuse me while I go open a box with two more lenses I just bought... LOL.
(not a joke, timing is everything!)
01-07-2015, 03:14 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Somedude Quote
I do like your suggestion, but I am gonna look for a course in my general area, since I do believe that a hands-on course will do me a little more good.
I agree. A hands-on course at the outset was essential for me. Ideally, it will be a course that takes place over at least a couple of days with time in between sessions, so that you have a chance to practice what you learned and come back with questions if necessary. But once you've got those basics under your belt, online courses and books can be really useful and the flexibility is nice.
01-07-2015, 07:03 PM   #14
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I spend a month in SE Asia a couple of years ago, I took my K5 with 16-45mm, 55-300mm and my 40mm. I carried it all in a shoulder bag. It was a little cumbersome but manageable. The 55-300mm didn't see a lot of use but if I was to do it again, I'd still bring it coupled with my new Ricoh GR. I love photographing animals, so personally for me the 55-300 is necessary for that extra reach.

If I'm travelling somewhere where I know I won't get the opportunity to shoot a lot of wildlife, I will only take my GR. While having the extra reach is nice, carrying only the GR means a load of your shoulder and mind. You don't have to worry about lugging around a camera bag with a bunch of gear.

You might also want to look into a GPS logger like the iGotU GT-600. I bought one for my trip to SE Asia and really came in handy when I was naming/geo-tagging my photos when I got home.
02-06-2015, 05:38 PM   #15
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If I were to keep only 1 camera and it had to be digital, the GR would be that camera.
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